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Get Your Home Summer Ready Now Before It Gets Scorching

Do you live in a part of the country that’s still dealing with sub-zero temps? Maybe you’re lucky enough to be in that in-between place where you don’t have to run your heater or your air conditioning – for at least the next few weeks, anyway. Regardless of your location, now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can give you a leg up on the season so you don’t need to wait in line for repairs once summer heat hits.

Check your roof

If you’re in a part of the country that had a rough winter, you definitely want to check your roof to make sure it hasn’t been compromised. A summer rainstorm could provide a not-so-fun surprise leak right over your couch. However, if spring storms that can include tornadoes and hail are normal for your location, you may want to wait until closer to summer—or check again at the end of the season.

“Check for misaligned, cracked or missing shingles, all of which can let water seep in,” said Liberty Mutual. “Also check flashing (those metal pieces where the shingles meet places like your chimney) for rust, and inspect the caulk around pipes or skylights to be sure it hasn’t cracked. Take a look at the chimney. If it’s masonry, inspect the joints between bricks or stones for pieces that have fallen out or have vegetation growing in them. Both could be signs of water problems.”

Get your air conditioning serviced

Here’s what’s going to happen if you don’t: There’s going to be a scorching heat wave in your city, causing everyone to flip on their air conditioning at the same time as you turn on your A/C—which, of course, will not work. And neither will the air conditioning units of numerous other people, all of whom will be calling for service at the same time.

No one wants to be forced to wait several days (at least), all sweaty and angry, for a repairman to come and provide some relief. Do yourself a favor and schedule a servicing now so you’re good to go when the temperature rises.

Check your sprinklers

If it’s been months since you’ve used your sprinklers, you just don’t know if they’re still in good shape. Wait until the warm weather arrives and you could have a situation on your hands similar to the A/C conundrum. Check them now so that if you need a fix or an adjustment, you can schedule it well in advance.

Manage air leaks

Did you check for leaks in the winter? You’re probably good to go, but, then again, it wouldn’t hurt to do another check. After all, leaks are quite literally sucking the air out of your home, and dollars are going with it.

“Taking the time to make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated will lower your total energy usage,” said Central Heating & Air Conditioning. “Similarly insulating your attic and walls, and sealing cracks and openings will prevent warm air from leaking into your home. When your home is sealed tightly, there is less chance of your cool air escaping. Your system will run less often, while keeping you just as cool and comfortable.”

According to Energy.gov, sealing a home up tight can provide a cost savings of between 10–20%.

Spring for a new fan

If you don’t have ceiling fans in key areas of your home, it might be time to add them. Fans can make the room feel more comfortable, so your air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard, thus saving you money. If you’re staying away because you don’t like the way fans look, it might be time to take another glimpse, as more modern and streamlined options are readily available today, like this one from Home Depot.

Don’t ignore your fireplace

Once the temps have risen and your fireplace is off limits for the next couple seasons, don’t just walk away and pretend it doesn’t exist. If you haven’t closed the damper, you’re letting hot air into your home, which will make it much harder to keep cool.

Change out your window coverings

You can freshen up your space by opting for lighter materials that bring in the sunlight. “As warmer weather becomes the norm, and we crawl out of the darkened caves we’ve been hibernating in all winter, update windows to reflect the light, airy mood of the upcoming summer days,” said Quicken. “Change out thick, dark curtains with lighter fabrics to take advantage of the added daylight and brighten up the room.”

While you’re addressing your windows, take a look around to make sure you don’t have any unwanted friends hanging around. “Also, to ensure you keep the creepy crawlies out when you open up your home to let outside air in, do a thorough inspection of your window screens and look for any tears or holes requiring repair,” they said. “This is also a good time to rid the exterior of your windows of the grime and buildup of winter.”

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1016334-20180402-get-your-home-summer-ready-now-before-it-gets-scorching?rtmpage=

April 3, 2018   No Comments

Small Kitchen Updates That Make A Big Impact

Does walking into your kitchen make you want to walk right back out? A kitchen that’s outdated or just plain drab can be depressing, but so can the realization of how much it will cost to renovate it. The good news is that you don’t need to do a complete overhaul to get happy in your space again. Little changes can actually make a big impact, and many of them can be done inexpensively, easily, and without having to hire someone.

New faucet

It’s amazing how a little thing like a new faucet can change how you feel about doing dishes. Especially if your existing faucet doesn’t have a modern design or is lacking features like a sprayer, a new version will be much appreciated. Go crazy and get a touchless faucet for some cool technology the whole family will love.

Backsplash

A new backsplash can make your whole kitchen look fresh, and it’s generally an inexpensive update (unless you pick some kind of super-fancy, limited edition, hand-forged, imported tiles). With a little instruction – check out this step-by-step guide from Home Depot – you may be able to do it yourself in a few hours.

Paint

Anyone who’s even painted their own kitchen cabinets will tell you it’s not an easy or pleasant job. But, in the end, it’s worth it to have a kitchen that looks brand new – not to mention the savings. Opt for a professional paint job, and you can be looking at spending several thousand dollars!

If you’re going for it, make sure you do your research, and your prep work. You don’t want to spend all that time only to end up with a splotchy, streaky, or uneven finish. This DIY how-to will help.

Hardware

“Think of hardware as kitchen jewelry – add new metal or glass knobs for an easy kitchen cabinet update,” said Better Homes and Gardens. If you’re using metal hardware, choose one finish for the scheme. Be sure to count the number of doorknobs, handles, or drawer pulls before heading out to stores, garage sales, or flea markets. And if the new hardware doesn’t fit the old holes, simply buy some backplates to cover the gaps and then drill new holes.


wayfair.com
Get new lighting

If you have an island or breakfast bar, consider hanging pendant lighting. A series of three pendants gives you sufficient lighting and is also in line with today’s trends.

Chalkboard paint

Modern kitchens are a place for family to gather, and designating a space for young kids to have some fun is an easy way to foster that togetherness. “Chalkboard paint inexpensively turns a ho-hum kitchen into a hip family-friendly hangout,” said HGTV. “Simply paint a wall or section of smooth cabinet doors, then tell your family they can write on the walls.” We love the fact that chalkboard paint comes in all sorts of colors now, and you can also get whiteboard paint and magnetized paint.

Glass panels

New cabinets are expensive! You can lighten up the look of your cabinets without changing them out completely by popping out the panels and replacing them with glass; this will give you a more updated look and also bring more light into the space. “Replacing existing doors with glass-paneled ones looks like a major upgrade,” HGTV’s Scott McGillivray told Good Housekeeping. “Opt for frosted glass, if you feel like your shelves aren’t display-worthy.”


HGTV.com
Create your own unique open shelving

You’ve seen it all over TV. Open shelving is a kitchen trend, and it’s one you can easily create without much fuss by completely removing a cabinet or two from the walls. Or, you can create this unique look that’s even easier to accomplish. “Create the look of a built-in china cabinet by simply removing a set of cabinet doors and filling the space with shelves displaying your favorite dishes,” said HGTV. “For added pop, line the back of the cabinet with wallpaper or paint it in a complementary color.”

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1016164-20180326-small-kitchen-updates-that-make-a-big-impact?rtmpage=goodalemillerteam

March 29, 2018   No Comments

5 Reasons Why to Sell This Spring!

5 Reasons Why to Sell This Spring!

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this spring makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase…and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory has declined year over year for the last 32 months and is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the average time it took to close a loan was 45 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Written by KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2018/03/26/5-reasons-why-to-sell-this-spring/

March 27, 2018   No Comments

Small Kitchen Updates That Make A Big Impact

Does walking into your kitchen make you want to walk right back out? A kitchen that’s outdated or just plain drab can be depressing, but so can the realization of how much it will cost to renovate it. The good news is that you don’t need to do a complete overhaul to get happy in your space again. Little changes can actually make a big impact, and many of them can be done inexpensively, easily, and without having to hire someone.

New faucet

It’s amazing how a little thing like a new faucet can change how you feel about doing dishes. Especially if your existing faucet doesn’t have a modern design or is lacking features like a sprayer, a new version will be much appreciated. Go crazy and get a touchless faucet for some cool technology the whole family will love.

Backsplash

A new backsplash can make your whole kitchen look fresh, and it’s generally an inexpensive update (unless you pick some kind of super-fancy, limited edition, hand-forged, imported tiles). With a little instruction – check out this step-by-step guide from Home Depot – you may be able to do it yourself in a few hours.

Paint

Anyone who’s even painted their own kitchen cabinets will tell you it’s not an easy or pleasant job. But, in the end, it’s worth it to have a kitchen that looks brand new – not to mention the savings. Opt for a professional paint job, and you can be looking at spending several thousand dollars!

If you’re going for it, make sure you do your research, and your prep work. You don’t want to spend all that time only to end up with a splotchy, streaky, or uneven finish. This DIY how-to will help.

Hardware

“Think of hardware as kitchen jewelry – add new metal or glass knobs for an easy kitchen cabinet update,” said Better Homes and Gardens. If you’re using metal hardware, choose one finish for the scheme. Be sure to count the number of doorknobs, handles, or drawer pulls before heading out to stores, garage sales, or flea markets. And if the new hardware doesn’t fit the old holes, simply buy some backplates to cover the gaps and then drill new holes.


wayfair.com
Get new lighting

If you have an island or breakfast bar, consider hanging pendant lighting. A series of three pendants gives you sufficient lighting and is also in line with today’s trends.

Chalkboard paint

Modern kitchens are a place for family to gather, and designating a space for young kids to have some fun is an easy way to foster that togetherness. “Chalkboard paint inexpensively turns a ho-hum kitchen into a hip family-friendly hangout,” said HGTV. “Simply paint a wall or section of smooth cabinet doors, then tell your family they can write on the walls.” We love the fact that chalkboard paint comes in all sorts of colors now, and you can also get whiteboard paint and magnetized paint.

Glass panels

New cabinets are expensive! You can lighten up the look of your cabinets without changing them out completely by popping out the panels and replacing them with glass; this will give you a more updated look and also bring more light into the space. “Replacing existing doors with glass-paneled ones looks like a major upgrade,” HGTV’s Scott McGillivray told Good Housekeeping. “Opt for frosted glass, if you feel like your shelves aren’t display-worthy.”


HGTV.com
Create your own unique open shelving

You’ve seen it all over TV. Open shelving is a kitchen trend, and it’s one you can easily create without much fuss by completely removing a cabinet or two from the walls. Or, you can create this unique look that’s even easier to accomplish. “Create the look of a built-in china cabinet by simply removing a set of cabinet doors and filling the space with shelves displaying your favorite dishes,” said HGTV. “For added pop, line the back of the cabinet with wallpaper or paint it in a complementary color.”

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1016164-20180326-small-kitchen-updates-that-make-a-big-impact?rtmpage=

March 26, 2018   No Comments

On Your Mark: How to Get Ready for Spring Home Buying Season

home buying in the spring season

The real estate market heats up in spring. Sellers list and buyers start looking. Today’s real estate market is very competitive, however. There are fewer listings than there are buyers. This means you have to be quick, qualified, ready to make an offer and competitive. Let’s examine what you need to do to be successful.

Get Pre-Approved Before Spring

You need to be pre-approved for your loan, of course. Why get pre-approved months in advance? In most cases, there are ways to massage your circumstances to get you approved to borrow more, or to get a better rate.

If you are due for a raise, ask your boss if you can get it now, so that you can document the higher income when you go into contract.

Find a local bank, mortgage company or a broker. Your loan agent should be experienced and have a broad knowledge of loan programs. Have your lender run your credit; there are almost always surprises in the credit report. Sometimes those surprises can cost you thousands of dollars. Uncover surprises very early in the process so you can work on them.

If you are tight on cash, stop spending and start saving. That extra buying power just may be enough to win you the deal.

If you are due for a raise, ask your boss if you can get it now, so that you can document the higher income when you go into contract.

The bottom line: See your mortgage advisor now, not later, so that person has the time to help you qualify for more or pay less.

Be Prepared to Sell Yourself

You know you are special, but the seller of your dream home doesn’t. We assume that every seller just wants the most money. That’s not true. Sellers is not just selling a piece of real estate – they’re selling their home; perhaps one they’ve raised their children in.

A buyer’s letter can often swing the deal, even if you are not the highest bidder. Why do you want the home? Will you be raising your children there? Do you need to be close to aging parents? Why does this home work for you?

Write your story, and when the time comes, the sellers will see you as more than a mystery buyer. That might be all you need to get your new home.

Interview Agents – And Let Them Interview You

An experienced, competent real estate agent will qualify you as a buyer. It’s more than just a loan approval. Your agent should determine that you are ready and willing to buy any one of the homes that he or she shows you. If not, the agent is wasting his or her time, your time and the sellers’ time. If your agent isn’t qualifying you, you might have the wrong agent.

Decide Where You Want to Live

What is most important to you? Commute to work? School district? Access to shopping? You want to be successful not just at buying a home, but living there for as long as you want. If you hate the neighborhood, you won’t be happy. Think this one through – what is really important to you?

Drive through neighborhoods you’ve identified at different times of the day and on weekdays and weekends. The personality of a neighborhood changes at times. Make sure you’ll be comfortable there.

Refine Your Needs and Wants List

Bedrooms and bathrooms are only the beginning. Do you need a separate family room? A formal dining room? How important is architectural style to you? How about yard?

In fact, no house is perfect. Everyone personalizes their home and makes it their own over time. You will, too. If the location is good and the basic amenities you want are there, the rest are just details that you can add later. Make sure that you know what’s really important and you will be happy in the long run.

Shop in Your Price Range

Finally, be realistic about what you can afford. Shop for homes in your price range. Everyone wants a deal – that’s human nature. It would be wrong to say your chances of getting a screaming deal on your first home are zero, but they are very, very close. In this market especially, you will likely have to pay a fair price for the home you want.

Long after you’ve forgotten what you paid for the home, you will remember the memories you’ve created there and you will cherish your sanctuary from the world. Happiness in the long run depends more on buying the right home and making it your own than it does on what price you pay.

Written By

Source: https://www.realestate.com/articles/news/how-to-prepare-for-spring-home-buying-season

March 21, 2018   No Comments

Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

With the days lengthening and weather warming, spring is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects. With the threat of winter storms past, you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prep your home and garden for summer. We spoke with an expert to get some tips on what to watch for this season, from proper irrigation to mosquitoes and termites (oh my!).

March 20, 2018   No Comments

5 Tips To Refresh Your Home For Spring Time

It may still be snowing in some parts of the country, but spring is almost here. Before the flowers start budding outside, refresh the inside of your home to give your interior spaces that springtime glow.

Bring the outdoors inside

Adding fresh plants or flowers to an otherwise ho-hum space can spice things up in the blink of an eye. Even if you don’t have a garden full of fresh flowers to choose from, greens make a lovely addition to your living room, or even an eye-catching centerpiece for your dining room table. Better Homes and Gardens suggests gathering a few fresh fern fronds for dramatic texture and rich color.

Don’t be afraid to add color

One of the easiest ways to perk up your space is to invest in a gallon of paint, call in reinforcements to help you out, and go to town with brushes and rollers. If you’re not incredibly adventurous when it comes to color choices but still want a pick-me-up, try going with a warmer, creamier version of the neutrals you already have; a creamy barely-yellow adds so much more warmth and interest than stark white.

You could even paint an accent wall a bold, fun color and use that space to showcase some of your favorite art or family portraits for your own personal art gallery. ForRent.com suggests incorporating bright colors in a breakfast nook or one of the smaller spaces of your home or apartment. It’s less of a risk than painting your entire kitchen or living room, but still packs a punch.

Reorganize your bookshelves

If you’ve got a fantastic library, now is a great time to take everything off the shelves, blow the dust off the covers, and reorganize. You might even consider artfully stacking books in different directions, some horizontal and some upright. Apartment Therapy reports some pretty impressive results simply by arranging books by color for a uniquely eye-catching display.


Photo by Craig Conley via Wikimedia Commons
Update window treatments

Spring is a great time to trade in your richly-textured drapes for lighter, breezier, more summery colors. If privacy isn’t a huge issue in a space, try adding light, breezy sheer curtains on a thin, minimalist rod. You’ll love how much the change automatically brightens your space. You might also consider substituting your ordinary blinds with Roman Shades. They’re a classier way to control light and privacy, and to update your style.

Make your entryway welcoming

Upgrade (or thoroughly clean) your front-door mats and add a wreath to your front door. This could be a fun DIY project for the entire family. Make sure you have an efficient landing spot just inside your front door — a place to drop keys and hang up a coat or jacket before coming inside. This is also a great place for a fun mirror and a flower arrangement. Your home’s entryway often gives guests their very first impression of your home, so make it shine with your family’s personality and a touch of style.


Photo by The McClouds via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Realty Times Staff
Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015736-20180309-5-tips-to-refresh-your-home-for-spring-time?rtmpage=

March 9, 2018   No Comments

7 High-Tech Investments To Include In Your Next Home Improvement

Are you planning to remodel your home? Do you want to make it more functional, comfortable, and add some more value to it? With these high-tech improvements, you can achieve all of those goals.

These are investments that will significantly upgrade your home, your level of security and change your way of life, while decreasing your impact on the environment, saving energy and money at the same time.

1. Solar Panels

One of the best and useful high-tech investments when it comes to home improvements are solar panels. Their benefits are wide and numerous, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are becoming an increasingly common investment with many homeowners. Apart from their environmentally-friendly and sustainable characteristics, they also bring high energy-efficiency and significant savings to your household.

Solar panels work on the basis of sunlight absorption and its conversion into electricity, and with them, you can cover the majority of your home’s electricity demands. With the development of the industry and the market, panels are becoming more and more efficient and able to absorb sunlight.

Solar storage batteries are also an important part of your solar system, complementing it to make your investment even more profitable and your home more energy-independent and efficient. They function as a safety net for cloudy weather and during the night. They will absorb and store the sun’s energy so that it can be used when there is no direct sunlight for the panels to absorb.

2. Digital Lighting

Digital lighting brings about comfort, convenience, but also efficiency and savings. With this home investment you can digitally and remotely manage the lights around your house. You don’t have to get up to flick the light switch, or even go upstairs to turn off the light you accidentally left on. This way, apart from making your life more comfortable, digital lights also make it easier to save energy and money.

he basis of this high-tech addition are LED bulbs. They can be any color you want, livening up your house, but more importantly, they are energy efficient. As opposed to the regular incandescent light bulbs, they convert much more electricity into light, which means they waste very little to no energy. They will last up to 25 times longer and therefore save you money on utility bills along the way.


Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
3. Smart Glass

Smart glass or switchable glass is a highly innovative, modern and multifunctional technological development. If you are renovating your house, and especially if you are changing or upgrading your windows, this is something you should seriously consider. It eliminates your need for curtains, blinds or shutters of any kind while maintaining your privacy.

Smart glass is an automated and programmable glass that prevents anyone from seeing inside, while still allowing the sun’s rays to shine in and keep you warm. The glass can be clear, translucent or completely dark and blocking the sun. This way it can keep your indoors cool during hot days. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, the glass has automatic sensors which can regulate the amount of light that comes in.


Image courtesy of Shtiever on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
4. Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an indispensable high-tech investment and should be incorporated in any home. It is a simple and affordable addition, yet a very significant one. It regulates and manages the heating and cooling in your household better and more efficiently.

It can be programmed for the best performance and optimal temperature, as well as controlled remotely through smartphones, for example. When there is no one home, they will lower the temperature or turn off, turning back on when you enter the house. And here is another benefit of these smart devices. They can be connected to other smart gadgets around the house, such as smart locks, so that they turn on when the door unlocks.


Image courtesy of Lindalnpijn on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
5. Smart Locks

With this intelligent addition, your house doors will automatically lock behind you, so you don’t have to worry whether you forgot to lock them. Smart locks can also be operated remotely, so you can lock or unlock the door in case you want to let someone in when you’re not home. These locks record all activity, and for added security, it will alert you whenever someone unlocks it.


Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
6. Surveillance Cameras

Having a security surveillance camera is the best way to record any activity in or around your house. Whether it is to keep intruders away from your home, or to monitor the activity within your house, you cannot go wrong with this investment.

Cameras, too, have developed and become smart, so now you can receive instant alerts to your phone of any suspicious activity, as well as monitor your household remotely, whether to keep an eye on your children, or to make sure everything is in order while you’re away.


Image courtesy of Sturm on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY 2.0
7. Vacuum Baseboards

This innovative addition to your home is also known as a central vacuum system, and it will upgrade the level of convenience as well as functionality in your household.

Vacuuming is hardly anyone’s favorite chore, especially if you live in a big house with many rooms. It takes up a lot of your time, you have to plug it and unplug it constantly, while getting tangled up in cords and hunching too long over the vacuum. This innovative solution solves all of those problems.

Vacuum baseboards, also known as vacuum units or sweep inlets, can be installed anywhere around your house, wherever you deem it convenient. They are then connected to the central vacuum system, which can also be installed in any place that is most suitable for you, such as the garage or under the stairs. When it’s time for cleaning, simply turn on the main switch and the central system will suck the dust and dirt through the inlets.


Image courtesy of Travelarz on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
Invest (in) Smart

Whether you are planning a remodel or are in the process of it, including some or all of these smart, high-tech investments would be a simple but a significant improvement. Many of them will go a long way towards making your house energy-efficient, some will increase your security, and some will help you with your everyday routines, making both you and your house more functional.

These investments are affordable, and will additionally save you money. Give them a try and you will see immediate change and long-term benefits.

Written by Matt James

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015614-20180302-7-high-tech-investments-to-include-in-your-next-home-improvement?rtmpage=

March 7, 2018   No Comments

Eight Must-Do’s Before You List Your Home For Sale

The Spring selling season is on, and if you’re considering listing your house, it’s time to get it in tip-top shape. You may think your home is already listing ready right now, but a real estate agent may not agree. These eight activities will help you put your best house forward.

Clean up that yard

You can’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. An unkempt yard, chipping paint, even a mailbox that’s seen better days can turn off a potential buyer – or turn one into a bargain hunter. And you don’t want either.

“Your home’s curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when they drive up to the property. Buyers immediately start assessing the exterior and landscaping, forming a knee-jerk first impression,” said Professional Staging. “This initial reaction is very powerful. It instantly sets the tone of the tour and will have an effect on how buyers perceive the rest of the property. If their first impression is a negative one, then the rest of the home will suffer for it. The state of a home’s exterior usually matches the interior. If the grass is long or patchy, the paint on the house is faded or peeling, and there are cracks in the driveway, then buyers are going to be very wary of what other kinds of maintenance issues could be awaiting them inside and in places that they can’t see. These issues instantly translate to dollar signs and stress for home buyers, so it’s likely they will move on to the competition to avoid them both.”


porch.com
Consider your door

Chances are, you don’t look much at your front door because you come in and out of the garage. A buyer approaching your house will notice if your door isn’t pristine and may project the lack of pristine-ness onto the rest of the house. A fresh coat of paint is inexpensive but the impact is dramatic.

Declutter

A cluttered house can mask its best qualities and also make potential buyers feel like it’s not as spacious as they want it to be. “Resist the urge to roll your eyes at this one,” said Family Handyman. “It is imperative that your home looks livable. Potential buyers may not be able to see past your clutter. Think of it this way – don’t move things you no longer want or need. Make decisions now and your house will sell faster and your move will be easier. Take one room, or even part of one room, at a time and dive in. Recycle or shred paper. Donate books, toys, clothing and duplicate household items. If you’re getting frustrated and you can’t deal with one more stack of papers or shoebox of old photos, put them in a plastic tub, label the tub and stack it somewhere out of the way.”

Depersonalize

You want your home to be memorable, but for the right reasons – not because of your wall full of crosses or bookcase overflowing with antique figurines. Pack them away to neutralize the space. “The next step on your declutter list? You want to remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property,” Kipton Cronkite, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in New York, told Realtor.com. “He says that includes personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make your home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which house hunters can project their own visions of living there, and loving it.”

Light bulbs, handles, and hardware, oh my!

Burned-out bulbs, loose handles, and hardware that’s worn, scratched, or rusted is easy to take care and can help your place look finished.

Give everything a good dusting

Look up! How’s that ceiling fan? You’d be surprised how a little thing like a dusty fan can impact a buyer and turn them into a non-buyer. Get out that duster and hit all the corners and window sills you never notice. And then clean all those windows so when you open all the blinds and drapes to let the sun shine in, the light doesn’t get blocked by smudges and fingerprints.

Walk through your home like you’re seeing it for the first time

Come in through the front door and examine every inch of the house. You’ve probably been ignoring little things that have just become part of the landscape. A scuffed baseboard here. A broken switchplate there. Even the pile of shoes in the front hall that you don’t even notice anymore. Potential buyers will, and these little things could be enough to turn them off.

“Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home, start to look at it with an objective eye,” said Family Handyman. “If you were the potential buyer, what red flags would you see when you walked around your house and yard?

Clean out your closets, your cabinets, and your pantry

Don’t fool yourself into thinking people won’t open doors and drawers and look through everything (Side tip: Hide your valuables before showings, just to be safe!). You don’t have to worry about being judged for your fashion sense—although, you might want to pack away those ‘80s parachute pants! You should be more worried about whether buyers will walk away because they think there isn’t enough closet or storage space, or it’s not efficient space.

You have to pack anyway since you’re moving, so start early. Empty out closets, cabinets, and storage areas so the space looks sufficient and nicely organized. For closets, the idea is to make them look filled, but not overfilled. Create space between hangers and fold other items neatly on shelves. Make sure there is ample space for shoes because, let’s face it, this could be a deal breaker for some people.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1015645-20180305-eight-must-dos-before-you-list-your-home-for-sale?rtmpage=

 

March 7, 2018   No Comments

Use The Renovation Bible To Determine ROI Before You Swing That Hammer

Every year we gear up to do some much-needed (or long-desired) renovations to our home, and every year we wait for the Cost vs Value Report to come out and tell us whether we’re going to see a decent return on those renos or whether they’re a waste of time – and money.

The Cost vs Value report is a renovation bible of sorts in that it provides a guide for those of us who want to make sure we get some ROI with our updated kitchen, attic bedroom, new deck, or addition. “This site compares average cost for 21 popular remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets,” they said. That means that not only can you get an idea of the what the smartest renovations are nationwide, but also in specific geographic areas.

In the 2018 report, “average return on investment (ROI) for home improvement projects dipped across the board, with ‘upscale’ projects taking the biggest hit,” said RISMedia. Remodeling magazine’s editor-in-chief Craig Webb suggests this may be a side effect of a strong housing market.

“It’s not clear if this is a sign of nervousness among real estate pros in the face of a booming housing market or if nationwide affordability concerns are leading pros to question the value of renovations that would make a house even more expensive at resale – particularly with the new tax law regarding the deductibility of mortgage interest and state, local and property taxes,” he said.

2018 trends

Highest returns

The highest returns in this year’s report were focused on curb appeal projects. “In 2018, the three projects with the highest year-over-year increase in value are ‘curb appeal’ projects—work that can be seen from the street,” said Hanley Wood, publisher of Remodeling magazine. “These are for garage door replacement (up 18.6%), wood deck additions (up 17.7%) and manufactured stone veneer installation (up 15.7%). In keeping with this trend, the projects showing the highest YoY decline in value were interior projects: master suite additions (down 14.7%) and major kitchen remodels (down 10.9%).” Steel entry door replacements also continue to show among the most robust ROI, at 91.3%.

Geographic differences

“The report continues to reveal tremendous regional variations in recouped value, with the highest returns on the Pacific Coast where the average payback is close to 64 cents on the dollar,” said Builder magazine. “Markets in the Middle Atlantic region averaged a return of just over 51 cents. The cost differences are even greater when you compare individual markets. There was a 73.1% difference between the highest- and lowest-cost market for the Universal Design Bathroom project, a wider gap than any other job. The smallest difference was 28.5%, for a vinyl window replacement. Depending on the project, the most expensive of the 149 markets to get remodeling work done for particular projects are the New York City region, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and – perhaps surprisingly – Trenton, N.J.”

Kitchen and baths

Renovation projects in these key areas showed better returns than additions, and mid-range projects rank higher than extensive overhauls. The highest-ranking kitchen project was a minor kitchen remodel, at an 81.1% return; while a major kitchen remodel had only a 59% ROI. The previously mentioned Universal Design bathroom renovation had a 70.6% ROI, but opt to add a bathroom instead, and you can expect only a 59% return.

You can see more national info and also break down potential renovation projects in your geographic area here.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015590-20180301-use-the-renovation-bible-to-determine-roi-before-you-swing-that-hammer?rtmpage=

February 28, 2018   No Comments